Encrypted Web Traffic More Than Doubles After NSA Revelations


Google search guru Matt Cutts says we should encrypt the entire internet. And he’s not alone. In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations of widespread internet eavesdropping by the NSA, the human rights organization Access is also campaigning for all websites to encrypt their connections to internet users, a pretty good way of thwarting interlopers.

We’re still long way from ubiquitous encryption, but according to new research conducted by network equipment company Sandvine, we’re at least making progress.

Early last year–before the Snowden revelations–encrypted traffic accounted for 2.29 percent of all peak hour traffic in North America, according to Sandvine’s report. Now, it spans 3.8 percent. But that’s a small jump compared to other parts of the world. In Europe, encrypted traffic went from 1.47 percent to 6.10 percent, and in Latin America, it increased from 1.8 percent to 10.37 percent.

The increases were first noticed by Ernesto Van Der Sar, the pseudonymous founder of the Torrent Freak blog. “Since overall internet traffic increased as well, the increase is even greater for the absolute bandwidth that’s consumed,” Van Der Sar wrote. Adjusting for overall increase in bandwidth, encrypted traffic in North America likely doubled.

Much of the change is probably due to Facebook and Google turning on HTTPS encryption in more places last year. Although you could already use Facebook and Google search over HTTPS if you used a browser plugin like HTTPS Everywhere, it wasn’t the default for most users. Facebook made HTTPS the default for everyone in July and Google switched its search engine over to HTTPS-by-default in September, though it already used HTTPS by default for logged-in users and for Gmail.

Van Der Sar also points out that demand for VPN services, which offer a way of routing all of your internet traffic through someone else’s servers, have also..

Read more: http://www.wired.com/2014/05/sandvine-report/